Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sheep Sorrel

Any time I sheet mulch or a mole disturbs an area, a green ground cover comes in.  It's leaves have the look of a trident or fleur de lis.  Not wanting it in the garden, I pull it up by the pound.  Since we have chickens I throw any plant that I weed to the chickens to see if they will eat it.  Not only do the chickens love the greens of the plant, they also love the seed it produces. It produces a ton of seeds spring through fall.  The seeds come within a few weeks of the leaves.

Finding out what this plant was took a few months. Finally, I was flipping through an edible plant book bought at a 2nd hand book store, and saw this mystery plant.  The plant is Sheep Sorrel and is edible. Sheep sorrel has a tart kind of lemony taste to it.  We now use it in our salads to give the salad a little flavor.

Sheep Sorrel is high in vitamins C and A. It has trace amounts of vitamin B and beneficial anti-oxidants.  On the slightly negative side, Sheep Sorrel is high in oxalate acid.  Therefore, it should not be eaten by the pound or else it will block the uptake of other important nutrients like calcium.

Growing Grass in the Pasture with Natural Alpaca Fertilizer

We moved our alpacas about 6 weeks ago to a new area of pasture that was recently fenced.  They were on the spot for a week, then moved to a different part of the pasture.  Alpacas go to the bathroom as a community; therefore, when they left I turned into there waste into the ground.  I then seeded the whole area with a pasture mix (clover, fescue, oats, grass, and tillage radish.  Originally, the grass is very thin in this pasture, my goal is to improve it to provide more feed to the animals and improve soil quality.

Six weeks later, the part that I turned has mostly grown in about 4 to 5 times as thick and 2 to three times as tall.  I am not a fan of tillage, but in this case it seems like a good way to jump start the pasture from this quick results.  The results have me looking through Craigslist now for a small tiller that I could turn in a pile of alpaca waste with.  With the alpacas we normally shovel off their waste and put it in a pile.  The part that we can't pick up with a shovel is turned into the ground.